This year’s ALA Annual Conference & Expo was held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, CO, in May. Attendees were treated to a jaw-dropping, picturesque Rocky Mountain landscape as well as a wide range of educational sessions and opportunities to engage with expert speakers and discover cutting-edge solutions from leading exhibitors. The conference provided valuable insights and practical strategies to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of legal administration and operations.

Wednesday session of note recap:

Super-Charged Productivity with Legal Documentation Automation + AI:
Critical Steps in Beginning Your Journey

Legal document automation, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), can significantly enhance productivity for legal and administrative teams. This session, led by Michelle Spencer, the lead product marketing manager at NetDocuments, delves into the strategies for successfully integrating AI into legal workflows. The focus is on improving client responsiveness, streamlining processes and accelerating new employee competency while mitigating risks. In this post, we share highlights of the key points discussed, offering actionable steps for implementing AI in legal documentation.

Understanding the Importance of AI in Legal Documentation

Proactivity is crucial in adopting AI in legal settings. In this session, speaker Spencer emphasized that starting early prevents clients from seeking alternative solutions that exclude your firm. Transparency builds trust with both internal and external stakeholders, ensuring everyone is aligned with the new technologies.

Effective policies provide a framework for AI use. These should include:

  • Training Requirements: Clearly define what training is necessary before using AI tools.
  • Appropriate and Prohibited Uses: Specify what is allowed and what is not.
  • Ethics, Privacy and Data Security: Address these critical areas to protect both internal and client data.
  • Client Communication: Guidance on how to discuss AI use with clients.

Training should be ongoing, not a one-time event. Initial sessions might cover basic principles, capabilities, limitations, and ethical considerations. Subsequent sessions can delve into best practices and emerging concerns.

Ethical Standards and Confidentiality

Compliance with ethical standards is paramount. AI policies must reflect existing legal standards and any jurisdiction-specific regulations. Lawyers need to be involved to ensure adherence to ethical guidelines and confidentiality protocols.

Confidentiality is particularly sensitive in legal settings. Data shared with AI tools must be carefully managed to prevent unauthorized access or misuse. Spencer highlighted the importance of understanding how data is processed, stored and used by AI systems.

Data Security

Data security involves knowing where and how data is processed and stored. Legal documents often contain sensitive information that must be protected. Spencer advised checking with vendors to ensure that data is not retained or used improperly.

Practical Steps for AI Integration

Initial Training and Frameworks: Start with comprehensive training sessions that cover the basics of generative AI, its capabilities, limitations, and ethical considerations. Use a combination of live training and short e-learning videos to ensure thorough understanding.

Continuous Learning and Feedback: Training should not be a one-time event. Regular sessions for sharing experiences, addressing new questions and discussing best practices are vital. This ongoing process helps reinforce the correct use of AI tools and keeps everyone updated on new developments.

Client Engagement: Incorporate discussions on use of AI into initial client consultations and engagement letters. Explain the benefits and address security concerns. Help clients understand its value by providing concrete examples of how AI improves service.


Integrating AI into legal documentation processes can greatly enhance productivity and client service; however, it requires careful planning, robust policies, continuous training, and active supervision. By starting early and proactively addressing potential issues, legal firms can harness the power of AI while minimizing risks.

Following the steps outlined by Michelle Spencer in this session will help firms navigate the complexities of AI adoption, ensuring a smooth transition and maximizing the benefits of this powerful technology.

Click for the full CGI2024 photo gallery and recap video.

The legal industry is undergoing rapid transformation, driven by technological advancements, evolving client demands and the need for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In this landscape, the CLOC Global Institute (CGI) remains as a pivotal force, bringing together more than 2,300 legal professionals and 113 exhibitors.

The CLOC Global Institute 2024, themed “Recharge: Embracing Experimentation in Legal Ops,” convened against the backdrop of unprecedented change, a push toward Legal Ops 3.0 and several key themes emerging from the discussions and sessions:

Technology Integration and Innovation

Technology continues to revolutionize the practice of law, and legal operations are no exception. From AI-powered contract analysis to blockchain-based smart contracts, CGI speakers explored cutting-edge technologies and their implications for legal operations professionals. Sessions delved into best practices for implementing new technologies, managing data privacy and security concerns and maximizing the value of legal tech investments.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Data has become a cornerstone of effective legal operations, enabling professionals to make informed decisions, optimize processes and demonstrate value to key stakeholders. At the CGI, experts shared strategies for leveraging data analytics, metrics and KPIs to drive operational efficiency, manage risk and enhance performance across the legal department.

Agile Workflows and Process Optimization

In today’s fast-paced business environment, agility is essential for legal operations teams to respond quickly to changing priorities and deliver results efficiently. Sessions at CGI explored agile methodologies, process automation and workflow optimization techniques designed to streamline operations, eliminate bottlenecks and empower legal professionals to work smarter, not harder.

Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration

Collaboration has become increasingly important for legal operations professionals, who must work closely with internal and external stakeholders to achieve organizational objectives. The CGI provided a platform for attendees to network, share insights and forge strategic partnerships with peers, service providers and technology vendors. CGI’s unique Braindate offering was a huge success where attendees could meet new people and share solutions and ideas.

Talent Development and Diversity and Wellness

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical for the long-term success of legal operations teams. Sessions at the CGI addressed topics such as talent acquisition, retention and development, as well as strategies for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within the legal profession. The conference also had an intentional focus on wellness with an entire ballroom dedicated to wellness and wellness activities throughout the week, including guided meditation which was fabulous.

Key Takeaways

  • Embrace Technology: Legal operations professionals must embrace technology as a catalyst for innovation and efficiency, leveraging tools such as AI, automation and analytics to optimize processes and deliver value.
  • Harness the Power of Data: Data-driven decision-making is essential for driving strategic insights and improving performance across the legal department. Legal operations teams should invest in robust data analytics capabilities and establish clear metrics for measuring success.
  • Prioritize Collaboration: Collaboration is key to success in legal operations, enabling teams to leverage diverse perspectives, skills and resources to achieve common goals. Building strong partnerships with internal and external stakeholders is essential for driving innovation and delivering results.
  • Invest in Talent and Diversity and Wellness: Investing in talent development and promoting diversity and inclusion are critical for building high-performing legal operations teams. By fostering a culture of learning, growth and belonging, organizations can attract and retain top talent and drive innovation and excellence in the legal profession.


The CLOC Global Institute 2024 showcased the leading edge of legal operations, highlighting the transformative power of technology, data, collaboration, and diversity. As legal departments continue to evolve and adapt to the demands of the digital age, embracing these key themes will be essential for driving innovation, efficiency and success in the years to come.

This year’s CLOC Global Institute is being held May 6-9, 2024, at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Previously held at Mandalay Bay, Aria’s conference space is more confined and easily navigable if there is even such a thing in Vegas. This year’s conference theme is RECHARGE. RECHARGE is CLOC’s mandate for the future. By building on its robust foundations, it wants to embrace the spirit of experimentation in legal ops, pushing boundaries and setting the stage for the next era. CLOC and its members are here to recharge, reshape and revolutionize legal operations.

Wednesday session of note recap:

Tomorrow’s Standard, Today’s Advantage: Strategic Partnerships and Technology Catalyzing Innovation and Transformation

Participants in this stellar panel were Drew Blazaitis, SVP Product & Strategy at Fulcrum GT; Stacy Walsh, AVP Corporate Legal Operations at Travelers; Jennifer Mattson, Associate Vice President – Legal Operations at Nationwide; and Daniel Hwang, Intellectual Property Partner at Global IP Counselors LLP.

Their conversation delved into the intricacies of fostering effective partnerships amidst shifting paradigms. Speakers emphasized the necessity for mutual alignment, investment of time, trust, and vulnerability. There’s a consensus on the pivotal role of data in driving decision-making processes, particularly concerning cost measures and project management principles.

As the dialogue unfolded, it became evident that strategic partnerships entail more than mere transactional interactions. They necessitate a nuanced understanding of client needs, a willingness to adapt and the cultivation of genuine, collaborative relationships. Participants highlighted the importance of prioritization, efficient resource allocation and leveraging technology to optimize outcomes.

Furthermore, the dialogue underscored the significance of transparency, honest communication and constructive feedback in nurturing successful partnerships. Participants shared positive and negative experiences, emphasizing the value of authenticity and genuine engagement in driving meaningful collaboration.

The Challenge of Demonstrating ROI

ROI is a challenge for legal departments, as the return often involves intangible contributions, such as hours saved rather than financial gains. Prioritization involves evaluating projects for continuous improvement, technology enhancements, and efficient utilization of outside counsel services. Efficiencies are sought through maximizing internal and external partnerships, as well as leveraging technology resources.

Ultimately, the aim is to enhance the performance of the chief legal officer’s team by understanding organizational goals and delivering accordingly. Prioritization is guided by these objectives.

In managing limited resources against an extensive to-do list, successful outcomes often depend on leveraging partnerships and collaborations. Positive examples include productive relationships with internal technology teams, characterized by open communication and mutual understanding of priorities and challenges.

Such partnerships contribute significantly to operational success, demonstrating the value of collaboration and effective communication. Replicating such successful partnerships across all areas would be ideal.

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways from the discussion included the imperative of regular strategic business reviews, the role of data in informing decision-making and the importance of personal relationships in driving successful partnerships. The dialogue encapsulated a multifaceted approach to navigating the evolving legal landscape, where technology and human-centric principles converge to catalyze innovation and transformation.

Tomorrow’s standard in the legal domain hinges on today’s proactive cultivation of strategic partnerships and the judicious utilization of technology. By embracing collaborative approaches, fostering genuine relationships and leveraging data-driven insights, organizations can position themselves at the forefront of innovation and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly dynamic and competitive market landscape.

This year’s CLOC Global Institute is being held May 6-9, 2024, at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Previously held at Mandalay Bay, Aria’s conference space is more confined and easily navigable if there is even such a thing in Vegas. This year’s conference theme is RECHARGE. RECHARGE is CLOC’s mandate for the future. By building on its robust foundations, it wants to embrace the spirit of experimentation in legal ops, pushing boundaries and setting the stage for the next era. CLOC and its members are here to recharge, reshape and revolutionize legal operations.

Tuesday session of note recap:

Navigating Legal Operations in Today’s Corporate Landscape: Insights from Industry Leaders

In the ever-evolving landscape of corporate legal affairs, the role of legal operations has become increasingly crucial. This shift is evident in the strategies and insights shared by industry leaders Tim Fraser, Jen Lenander, Chryssa Stefanou, and Eric Gorman during Tuesday’s panel discussion. As professionals representing diverse sectors, including technology, healthcare, consulting, and manufacturing, their collective expertise provided valuable perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing legal operations teams today.

The Panelists

Tim Fraser – VP, General Counsel & Secretary, Toshiba America, Inc.

With his extensive experience in corporate legal affairs, Tim Fraser brought a wealth of knowledge to the discussion. As the vice president, general counsel and secretary at Toshiba America, Inc., he oversees legal matters crucial to the company’s operations. His insights shed light on the legal challenges unique to the technology sector and offer strategies for effective legal operations management.

Jen Lenander – Director of Legal Operations, Elastic

Jen Lenander’s role as the director of legal operations at Elastic provided her with firsthand experience in managing legal processes within a dynamic and rapidly growing organization. Her perspective offered valuable insights into implementing efficient legal operations practices, particularly in the tech industry, where innovation and agility are paramount.

Chryssa Stefanou – Global Head of Legal Operations, CSL

As the global head of legal operations at CSL, Chryssa Stefanou is responsible for optimizing legal processes on a global scale within the healthcare sector. Her expertise lies in navigating complex regulatory environments while enhancing operational efficiency and driving strategic initiatives. Her insights shed light on the unique challenges and opportunities facing legal operations in highly regulated industries.

Eric Gorman – Principal, Global Legal Transformation & Managed Services, KPMG LLP

Eric Gorman, serving as the chair of the panel, brought a comprehensive understanding of legal operations from his role as principal at KPMG LLP. With a focus on global legal transformation and managed services, Eric offered strategic guidance on leveraging technology, process improvement and outsourcing to enhance legal operations efficiency and effectiveness across various industries.

Generative AI in Legal Departments

The visions articulated by the corporate legal operations leaders regarding the transformative potential of Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) within legal departments reflect a paradigm shift in how legal professionals perceive and harness technological advancements. Here’s an expansion on each of these points:

  1. Ubiquity of Generative AI:

The analogy drawn between Generative AI and the ubiquity of the internet underscores the profound impact this technology is expected to have on the legal landscape. Just as the internet has become an indispensable tool in our daily lives, Generative AI is poised to permeate every aspect of legal operations. From contract drafting and review to legal research and case analysis, Generative AI will become an integral part of the legal toolkit, facilitating tasks that were once time-consuming and resource-intensive.

  1. Empowering the Legal Department of the Future:

Generative AI holds the promise of empowering legal departments to operate more efficiently and effectively in an increasingly complex and dynamic business environment. By leveraging advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques, Generative AI enables legal professionals to automate repetitive tasks, extract insights from vast amounts of data and make data-driven decisions with greater accuracy and speed. This empowerment extends beyond traditional legal functions to encompass strategic planning, risk management and compliance, positioning legal departments as strategic partners in driving organizational success.

  1. Creating Value, Speed and Cost Reduction:

One of the most compelling aspects of Generative AI is its potential to create value, deliver that value at the speed of business and reduce costs simultaneously. By automating routine tasks and streamlining workflows, Generative AI enables legal departments to allocate resources more efficiently, freeing up time and resources to focus on high-value strategic initiatives. Moreover, by accelerating the pace of legal operations, Generative AI enables legal departments to keep pace with the rapid changes and demands of the business landscape, thereby enhancing agility and responsiveness.

Implications and Opportunities

The transformative potential of Generative AI presents legal departments with a myriad of opportunities to enhance their effectiveness and deliver greater value to their organizations. From improving operational efficiency and risk management to enabling data-driven decision-making and fostering innovation, Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the way legal services are delivered and consumed.

However, it’s essential to recognize that the adoption of Generative AI also raises important considerations around ethics, privacy and the future of work. As legal departments embrace this technology, they must remain vigilant about ethical implications, data security and the impact on the workforce. Additionally, there is a need for ongoing collaboration between legal professionals, technologists and regulators to ensure that Generative AI is deployed responsibly and in accordance with legal and ethical standards.

Deploying Generative AI in a corporate legal department requires a holistic approach that encompasses training, prioritization and governance. By investing in comprehensive training programs, prioritizing use cases strategically and establishing robust governance frameworks, legal departments can unlock the full potential of Generative AI to drive efficiency, innovation and value creation. As Generative AI continues to evolve, ongoing monitoring, evaluation and refinement of deployment strategies will be essential to ensure continued success and maximize the benefits derived from this transformative technology.

At the conclusion of the session, each panelist provided key advice for deploying Generative AI:

  • Tim – Get started now. Begin your Generative AI technology and data strategy.
  • Jen – Data is the key. It’s essential to comprehend the type of data that AI tools will leverage to ensure ethical and responsible usage.
  • Chryssa – Focus on change management: Create a comprehensive training management program to generate buy-in and effectively educate your team.
  • Eric – Be strategic: make strategic choices about use cases.